MRI is a painless diagnostic procedure that uses magnets and computers to create pictures or images of areas inside the body. Each image shows a thin, horizontal slice of the breast tissue. A computer compiles the images, which can be studied from many different angles. MRI scans produce hundreds of images that a trained radiologist interprets.
MRI scans look for masses like other imaging techniques do, but the technology is sensitive to detecting increased vascularization or new blood vessels that feed tumors. Highlighted by the injection of a special dye, breast tumors enhance or “light up” on MRI scans.
If a suspicious area is detected, your physician may recommend a MRI-guided breast biopsy. This type of biopsy may be a preferred alternative to a surgical biopsy. MRI-guided biopsy requires only a topical anesthetic, leaves little to no scarring and can be performed in less than an hour.
Breast MRI has been in use at Hartford Hospital since 2001 and about 400 breast MRI scans are done a year.